Grants talk:PEG/Mind of the Universe: open video commons

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GAC members decisions[edit]

GAC members who support this request[edit]

GAC members who support this request with adjustments[edit]

GAC members who oppose this request[edit]

GAC members who abstain from voting/comment[edit]

GAC comments[edit]

Community comments[edit]

General remark: The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision would like to extend its gratitude towards the community for the feedback received so far. We hope our clarification provided more clarity and insight in our project and the reasons for asking support in the form of this grant request.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 13:03, 8 July 2016 (UTC)


While this project appears to have good intentions, I have some concerns. If I am understanding this proposal correctly, it appears to be for the creation and/or editing of video content of encyclopedic material, which is a prohibited use of WMF funds. Also, the costs appear to be high. If I was a donor to WMF, this is not the kind of expense that I would envision my money funding. I am inclined to oppose this proposal in its current form. If the proposal was redesigned such that no WMF funds were devoted to making content, and the costs were lowered significantly (I might be supportive of an expense of 1000 to 5000 euros), I would consider supporting a revised proposal. --Pine 20:14, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Hi Pine, thank you for your feedback and expressing your concern. The creation of video content is most certainly covered by other sources. The preparation for this material for upload to Wikimedia Commons, in other words, making it suitable for use in the Wikimedia projects, is really a separate activity that requires this extra funding. As is suggested by Hannolans down below, the added value of this project lies not only in the contribution of new, high quality content, but also in creating a use-case and best practices for cooperation between public broadcasters and Wikimedia. We feel that the effort in both time and resources that VPRO and Sound and Vision are putting into this project themselves justifies the amount requested. 85jesse (talk) 08:55, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
Hello 85jesse, the grant page states "the material will be viewed by an editor who will determine meaningful segments of material. Second, each segment will be uploaded to [ Open Images]. In the process, material will be transcoded to various open media formats (WebM and Theora). The primary online publication of the raw material under the CC-BY-SA license is facilitated by the platform. Third, using the existing re-distribution workflow of Open Images (based on OAI-PMH and the MediaWiki extension GWToolset), content and metadata will be mass uploaded to Wikimedia Commons." AWang (WMF) will correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe that all of these activities are outside of the allowed scope of uses for WMF funds. My understanding is that WMF grant money must never be used for compensating anyone for their time for creating or uploading content, which would include scanning, editing, or (as already mentioned) uploading content. If WMF was to allow this use of funds, then it would open a very wide door to funding requests for activities such as paying staff or contractors to scan and edit photos and to upload them. My understanding is that these are currently prohibited uses of funds.
However, if someone else wants to fund those activities or volunteers are found to do those activities, I believe that there may be other components of this grant that can proceed.
I would also note that the cost of preparing for three editathons, plus the cost of food for three editathons, totals approximately 10,000 euros. That cost seems very high. Can you explain how you arrived at those numbers? I particularly question the need to pay 45 euros per hour to prepare for an editathon; here in the United States we have highly skilled Wikimedians who do the same work for 15 dollars per hour, which roughly equals 13.50 euros per hour. I find it difficult to believe that such high rates are necessary and a wise use of WMF funds.
Overall, I remain of the view that the costs of this project are excessive in relation to the benefits, although I am willing to be convinced otherwise.
--Pine 02:44, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
I'd like to make a clarification that may be helpful here. My understanding is that the creation, translation, enhancement, conversion, uploading, or editing of tools or materials about Wikipedia or its sister projects, such as pamphlets or videos that explain how to use Wikipedia, may be an allowed labor expense. (Note that I still am very skeptical of the costs and labor rates involved in the edit-a-thons proposed in this particular grant, even if these expenses might be in allowed categories.) The creation, translation, enhancement, conversion, uploading, or editing of encyclopedic content or its equivalent on sites other than Wikipedia would be a prohibited labor expense; however, non-labor costs that facilitate these activities, such as the purchase of a scanner or the rental of a room, may be an allowed expense. Is that correct, AWang (WMF)? --Pine 06:38, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Dear all, Maarten here. I’m responding on behalf of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision under my own user name. In respons to this comment, I would like to stress the following:
  • This grant request ask for support to finance the additional costs required to facilitate the reuse of the Mind of the Universe material on Wikimedia Commons as open video. We are using Open Images as a ‘bridge’ to meet this goal. This is mostly a necessary ‘evil’ and has become a standard step in our workflow for the thousands of videos Sound and Vision has contributed to Commons, as part of its own open content policy. This experience and existing workflow is exactly why VPRO asked us to parter up for their ambition to open up Mind of the Universe. Please mind that for our own open content donation we do this work on an in-kind basis.
  • We have apt experience with edit-a-thons and are confident we’ve made a realistic estimation of the resources required.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 12:42, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Hi Mbrinkerink. I think that I understand the interest in using WMF funds to support transitioning the "Mind of the Universe" material to Commons. However, as I mentioned above, my understanding that labor expenses for this are a prohibited use of WMF funds. Please note that this isn't my personal policy, and I would be willing to have a conversation about whether the policy itself should be changed. Hopefully AWang (WMF) will comment further on this point. On the second point about edit-a-thons, perhaps you can explain how you arrived at the rate of 45 euros per hour; I have great difficulty understanding why that number is so high. Thank you, --Pine 21:38, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Suitability of produced contents for Wikimedia projects[edit]

I warmly applaud the fact that a public broadcaster and an audiovisual archive work together to make new footage of a documentary series available under free licenses; in my opinion, this should be a default way of working with public money. However, the content that will be produced here seems to be only very partly aligned with the type of video material that is really needed for Wikimedia projects. Openly licensed video fragments of a documentary on historical events, of a nature documentary series, or describing the customs of people around the world, would be extremely welcome. But I'm not very enthusiastic about the speculative content (clearly spiced by today's hot 'innovation' agenda) that will be produced here. How many Wikipedia articles and Wikidata items will this really benefit? And what will be the shelf life of this speculative content? Like the commenter above, I do have my doubts about this usability set against the high projected costs. I would very warmly welcome another type of documentary that is more aligned with the actual content gaps on Wikimedia projects though. Spinster (talk) 20:40, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Spinster: Good points. In the US we have had discussions about engaging public broadcasters in mutually beneficial relationships with Wikimedia, but so far we have made little progress. I am hoping that the situation will improve within the next year or two. Regardless of the situation with this specific grant, I would welcome a discussion about how best to engage public broadcasters with open licenses, Wikimedia sites and Wikimedia affiliates. --Pine 20:51, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
I have received two critical responses on my comment via private email from Wikimedia Netherlands' executive director. I must admit this feels a bit intimidating, and I would like to keep this discussion public. It is correct that the documentary includes notable scientists that discuss notable current topics, and the ED has done efforts to demonstrate this to me. It would be useful to specify this list of topics in the context of this application somehow, in order to clarify its usefulness to the committee that will eventually decide upon this application (I don't, I'm just using my own earlier experience with online video on Wikimedia to help the applicants sharpen their point and learn for future projects). I do see clearly how interview fragments will be included in Wikipedia articles about the scientists and that some footage may enhance articles about research locations such as the Vatican Observatory and the Large Hadron Collider. But I still don't see clearly how this documentary will enhance larger topics like artificial intelligence, evolution, or homo sapiens. Will the documentary produce the short explanatory/educational videos that these articles need? This is also a larger question to the Wikimedia community, which points in an entirely different direction: what type of video do we want and need, and how can we obtain it under free licenses (with or without partnerships with public broadcasters)? Please note: I am still very enthusiastic about this initiative and would like to see it applied in the best way possible. in a way that will lead us to more good and useful collaborations in the future. Spinster (talk) 08:34, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
We have know each other in real life for many years, we have worked together on lots of stuff and as far as I know never an angry word passed between us. That you could feel intimidated by an email from me I find very strange and I am hurt that you should use such a term. However, be assured that that was not my intention. Sandra Rientjes - Wikimedia Nederland (talk) 09:26, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
I was very wrong in interpreting your email that way and I'm very sorry that my remarks upset you! Online communication can be confusing. I'm very glad we clarified the contents of the documentary, too. Spinster (talk) 10:13, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
And I shouldn't send emails late at night... they are bound to be open to misinterpretation. My fault! And now let's get back to discussing the proposal... Sandra Rientjes - Wikimedia Nederland (talk) 10:22, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
For clarification I would like to point out the following:
  • We aim to enrich the open video the project will donate with relevant topics, to enhance its reusability (especially in the Wikimedia context). Apart from the source material (full interviews), we will also supply fragments that correspond to these topics. This makes the open video material more relevant for broader articles on knowledge and science, for instance to illustrate certain scientific and/or philosophical positions in relation to the subjects of the articles.
  • The usage of video on Wikipedia is indeed a relative unestablished practice, and this proposal addresses that fact. This is why we don’t just donate and push for reuse, but will also document our experiences and will provided recommendations for the future of open video and public media content on Wikimedia projects (and will also propagate these results through our networks and the Video and the Commons working group).
  • The fact that this project deals with a new public broadcasting production is a crucial point, in relation to the goal to open up public media content. In our view previous attempts to open up archival public media have actually proven extremely hard endeavors, because of the inherent staking of intellectual property (not only rights that can be attributed to the public media entities are involved). With this new production we can show that it is actually possible to open up public media content, when this goal is taken into account from very early on in the production process.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 12:55, 8 July 2016 (UTC)


This is a breakthrough project that Wikipedia needs. The European public broadcasters have lobbied in the EU successfully against the directive of the re-use of public information, and are very restrictive with copyright. They should embrace Creative Commons licenses, but instead they publish their content only on their own Netflix-initiatives and have contracts that forbid re-use. That is not the future for public broadcasters we all know, but we need breakthrough on this, technically, organisationwise and legally. This project should not be seen as a content donation only (while the content is interesting as well), but as a serious attempt to breakthrough all the legal restrictions public broadcasters and producers claim to be there. This works as a showcase and how-to for public broadcasters to publish raw broadcast material and this has never been done. --Hannolans (talk) 21:37, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Budget and some strategic thoughts[edit]

I do have some questions about the projected budget, and about its implications for similar future projects. It seems as if the documentary *will* be produced and its contents *will* be published under free licenses; so even if this project doesn't get funded by us, Wikimedia volunteers will still be able to download the videos, edit them by themselves (in volunteer time) and add them to Wikipedia articles - not supported by edit-a-thons and manuals and additional metadata improvements by the applicants. Is this correct?

Unfortunately this assumption is incorrect. VPRO has no infrastructure available to distribute video openly, and hence wants to partner up with Sound and Vision to utilize Open Images as a 'bridge' to Wikimedia Commons.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 12:55, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

30,000 EUR is quite a bit of money. I did the entire Flemish art museums on Wikidata project (data cleaning and preparation, volunteer-aided data imports, a whitepaper, a manual and several meetings and workshops) for 6,000 EUR (entirely paid by the umbrella organisation that led the project, so no WMF funding involved). I don't have the feeling that I was underpaid, but maybe I'm very naive. I do think that, if the applicants want to receive this amount of money, they need to clarify exactly what kind of additional value is produced that would not be present without this funding. Everyone does edit-a-thons; what does the handbook (32 hours at EUR 45 per hour) add to the practical experience that so many volunteers and chapters already have; in which way will this handbook be used by others in the future? What does the 'Metadata enrichment' mean? Transcripts? Editing the videos into small chunks? How does the transcoding to (EUR 2080,00) help if we already have tools like Firefogg with which volunteers can transcode video to .webm and upload it directly to Commons? And why does the whitepaper cost 6,600 euro if an entire project can be run for that amount of money?

In respons to this comment, I would like to stress the following:
  • The handbook addresses specific challenges in relation to open video and public media content for edit-a-thons. The white paper documents our - we believe - valuable experiences with a pioneering project, which addresses that ongoing challenge for Wikimedia to build relationships with public media outlets, this is uncharted territory still especially in the audiovisual domain.
  • Enrichment in this project encompasses adding specific description for the interview fragments, English transcripts, facilitating the translation of these transcripts, adding the content to relevant categories on Commons to enhance discovery and reuse, et.
  • It is our experience that using the standard upload functionality that Commons offers does not suffice for a mass upload of hundreds of FHD (and possibly higher resolution videos. Sound and Vision has developed its own workflow for supplying open video to Wikimedia Commons, which the project proposes to utilize. In this workflow Open Images acts as a ‘bridge’ and facilitates hosting of the source files, transcoding to open media formats and mass uploading the content to Commons (with the use of OAI-PMH and GWToolset).
  • Our estimated required resources are based on our (substantial) previous experience with organizing edit-a-thons and other Wikimedia-related activities, so we consider them to be very realistic. We are using our regular internal hourly rates. Also mind that both parties are contribution a substantial portion of their efforts as an in-kind contribution to the project. We feel that it is curial to involve people with knowledge of the production itself, in order to be efficient and assure a certain quality level.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 12:35, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Playing the devil's advocate. What if we don't fund this project, but it is still picked up by the Wikimedia community? Imagine that people edit the videos, upload them to Commons, integrate them in Wikipedia articles... spontaneously, without extra pushes and guidance, without handbook, without extra metadata editing by external parties, without edit-a-thons. Wouldn't the outcome be very interesting too?

I apologize for being so annoying. I would like to see this project happen in the most impactful way and I want to see more of these projects in the future. I want this approach to become default. I want freely licensed content from public broadcasters to become *mandatory* as quickly as possible. I'm a bit afraid that this project will only make public broadcasters look at us as a potential extra funder for 'exceptional' things like releasing footage under free licenses (woo!), and I'm not sure if that's the message we do want to send. I hope we can invest donors' money in a way that makes this approach sustainable. I'd therefore plead for asking/giving a smaller amount of money, that emphasizes research after the project has finished, and that is mainly used for a well-written whitepaper and/or other types of outreach, aimed at public broadcasters, policy makers and the Wikimedia community which includes the project's impact, strong argumentation for broadening the amount of freely licensed footage from public broadcasters, and recommendations on which types of content would actually be very useful to be released under free licenses (see my comments above). I know B&G is great at this, see their awesome work on GLAMetrics! I would also like to see joint lobbying efforts by audiovisual archives and the Wikimedia community in this area, to counter the broadcasters' lobby as described by Hannolans above. Spinster (talk) 09:17, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

No need to apologize, we are very happy to explain why we feel this project - in full - would be favorable and needs the funding as requested:
  • VPRO lacks a technical infrastructure to distribute open video
  • This project in our view functions as a proof-of-concept, which will explore the added value of open content in relation to public media in practice (instead of only discussing this on a policy of legal level).
  • Examples of its feasibility and added value are very necessary in our view, since the opening up of public media content will most likely not come about based on just policy, especially in the European context. Our recently implemented Private Sector Information Directive for example explicitly excluded public broadcasting from the publicly funded content that EU citizens should have free access to.--Mbrinkerink (talk) 13:04, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

WMF Comments[edit]

Hi PaulaUdondek. Thank you for submitting this proposal, and for answering questions on the talk page. We apologize for the delay in giving feedback, the last several months have been very busy as we have been making significant changes to our grant programs. We appreciate your patience. You have proposed a very interesting project that we can see would have benefits both by giving editors access to high quality sources, and by creating a model that other public media organizations to follow to share their content on our platforms. Making a funding decision, however, has been difficult.

Currently, we do not fund organizations to prepare their content to share on our platforms, but we do fund work that focuses on engaging editors with newly uploaded content. This can include trainings, event space, internet, and snacks for editathons, contests, small prizes for events and contests. However, we do not fund work that replaces volunteer activities, such as selecting articles and coordinating editathons. We want to support your project and your efforts to help editing communities engage with the exciting content that you will be sharing.

  • We can fund updating the handbook - 32 hours @ 45 euro - 1,440 EUR
  • We can fund lunch for the editathons. Can you clarify how many participants you are expecting and the cost for lunch for those events?
  • It sounds like there will be a lot of interesting content made available through this project. We recommend that you create a plan for how you will help editors (outside of editathons) identify content that can be added to articles.

We are very interested in funding this project as a pilot to set a precedent for public broadcasting organizations to share media on Wikimedia platforms. With that in mind, we would like to evaluate success based on a workflow becoming "sellable" to an institute and becoming standardized under the existing funding of public broadcasting organizations. For this reason, we are willing to fund work that you do to document and share your experience with this project with other public media organizations.

  • Please elaborate on your plans to do outreach beyond the white paper.
  • Are there parts of this outreach that need funding support?
  • Please describe what a successful outreach campaign will like like, for example, within a year how many organizations do you hope will use your white paper or editing handbooks to begin sharing media on Wikimedia platforms.

Please let us know if you are able to proceed with this project with the funding we are able to offer, and whether you need additional funding support for the outreach phase of your project. We are also happy to talk through any questions or concerns you have. Thank you again for your patience and for all of your hard work on this project. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 17:38, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Not funded[edit]

Hi PaulaUdondek. Since we have not had a response to the above comments in over a month or to our emails, we are declining this grant request. Please note that future proposals can be submitted under the new Project Grants program. Let us know if you have questions. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 00:06, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

Changing grant start and end date[edit]

The original start date of this grant was December 1st 2016. Considering the fact that the grant was only issued after considerable changes to the budget in late November 2016, the administrative completion is only now in full swing and considering the fact that the transmission of the Mind of the Universe series will only start on May 7th, we propose to change the start date to April 1st 2016. To ensure that we have enough time to evaluate and reflect on the experience in the project in the whitepaper we would propose to change the end date from October 31st to December 31st 2017. If this is reason for concern, please do let us know. 85jesse (talk) 07:59, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi 85jesse, thank you for updating us on the change in schedule, your request for a change in start and end dates is approved - but I assume the new start date should be April 1, 2017. Please confirm. --KHarold (WMF) (talk) 19:23, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

extending the project duration[edit]

A brief update: We have uploaded raw video material of interviews to Wikimedia Commons. We have made several attempts to engage with the editors of Wikipedia, both online and offline (editathons) to promote the reuse of these materials. However, due to a lack of interest from the community we haven't seen much reuse of these materials on Wiki. We have some thoughts on why this may be the case (level of abstraction of content of videos, type of videos, ie. interviews, etc. if anyone has more ideas on that, we would love to hear from you!). We realize therefore that for part of this project we probably will not be successful. However, we still think that putting together the Whitepaper, in which we reflect on the practicalities of producing material for open licensing in a professional setting is of much value. We will focus our attention on that. We will also reflect critically on the reasons why the Mind of the Universe material has seen little adoption on wiki and what types of content we have seen receive wide reuse on wiki in previous projects. We would like to propose to extend the duration of this project by two months (until March 1st 2018), to give us enough time to write a diligent and in depth paper. Thank you for your consideration. 85jesse (talk) 07:58, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Hi 85jesse. Thank you for the update and we're sorry that engaging Wikimedians has been so challenging. We agree that the whitepaper would still be useful. The new end date is March 1, 2018 and your final report will be due April 30, 2018. Best, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 05:15, 8 December 2017 (UTC)